Innovation to Face the Crisis

When mobility was limited during the Covid lockdowns, people had to work from home. Months after the lockdowns were lifted, many employees still worked from home. A vestigial organ we attained during the plague is continuing to be useful. Companies must engage in some level of cost cutting to survive recessions, unfortunately this is often in the form of downsizing. Lowering productivity at a time of scarcity may be detrimental. Digital tools can provide cost saving benefits without compromising productivity.

Working remotely:
Rush hour traffic was always a problem in cities. 34.5% of participants in a 2017 study spent 1 hour and 30 minutes of each day on employment related traveling. You might be wondering how they got to work so quickly. This study gathered information from the country as a whole, but densely packed cities and suburbs suffer greater delays owing to rush hour traffic. As you may know all too well, sitting around in traffic causes stress; which has been demonstrated to nip into productivity in the workplace. Crawling up fuel queues is an equally counterproductive activity that has become mandatory for commuters. By switching to work from home, employees can save time, money, and sanity by avoiding tedious daily
commutes and the despair of being baked alive in a parked car.

Though some bosses may grumble about employees being too lax when they’re at home, emerging studies have found many cases where remote workers are more productive. Much of the improvements were attributed to time savings from the aforementioned, yet a clear increase in efficiency is visible. Giving ownership of their work environments to workers allows them to self govern and work in environments better suited to their personality. Renting office space is expensive, particularly so in urban zones. Switching over employees to working remotely cuts down on overhead. This may seem like offloading expenses onto employees -which it sometimes is, but consider that most suburbanites already benefit from some sort of home office setup.

Decisions powered by statistics:
Web sites can gather a worrying amount of information about customers. Ignoring the ethical implications, even just knowing what sites your customers have visited gives you an insight into their interests. When devising how your product or service should be changed, this insight may be invaluable. For example, a restaurant can find out whether customers who use their site also visit sites like UberEats before launching their own delivery service. Hundreds of tools exist to record users’ activities. Without any additional effort on an employee’s part, a program running in the background can log relevant details like screen time and file access. With this data a manager can identify parts of the production process that require streamlining. For example- a worker who spends more time using Excel than expected may
require additional training in spreadsheets. Otherwise difficult to see problems can be addressed.

Free Software:
Many companies still sit in the palms of monopolies like Microsoft when it comes to software. Unfortunately for such monopolies, computer programs are infinitely replicable. For every “software as a service” program an employee may use, free and open-source alternatives exist. Instead of Microsoft Office, one could use LibreOffice or OpenOffice for word processing. Instead of PhotoShop, one could perform image manipulation with Krita or GIMP. Many of these applications offer similar features compared to their commodified counterparts, with some outstanding members -like Blender- being
industry leading. Though cloud services will still depend on subscriptions for running costs, there’s no need to pay pricey subscriptions for an infinitely replicable program like Microsoft Word. Cutting out inessential expense by shifting to free and open-source software can save money without sacrificing productivity. Since some closed source applications are notorious for anti-features and bloat, you may even notice an increase in productivity. Depending on the industry you hail from and the productivity you aspire to achieve, there could be various technological solutions that can be introduced. Keep your eyes
and ears open to the strangest bottlenecks and do some reading; you could be surprised at the options that are available.

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